On Friday night, I unexpectedly slept for 11 hours! Now for my teenage boys this may be more norm, but I have not had that much sleep (at one time) in years. When I awoke, I was reminded of the healing power of sleep – especially because my right ear was no longer bothering me!
Then in my email inbox, wiseGEEK had a nice entry about how “sleep is biologically fundamentally necessary” to clean and restore the human brain – and as I was waking up from my coma sleep, I was reminded of how often sleep gets taken for granted (whether napping or sleeping through the night) – and I also realized how important sleep is to overall health.
Here are some thoughts I wrote as I reflected on sleep…. (I made the sentences rhyme for flow – but this is not trying to be the poem of the century – I just like to write this way sometimes – k?)
it’s a mixed thing
often overlooked –
minimized with a sting!
how “much” one needs – depends on wiring
Type A or Type B?
or high extravert with more social swing?
Sleep needs – depends on you…
health, phase and age-
Different life stage
But like margins in a book, which helps words flow
Sleep is key to balanced growth!
We can only skip sleep for so long
Until all we know is the irritability song-
And then with sleep deprived eyes –
moods and health are compromised!
Sleep is a mixed thing –
But RESTORATION it brings…
We can abide with less for quite a while
But the body keeps a record – a mental file!
deprivation begins to show
one day – we just know –
It is time to go to bed –
stop dead –
rest the head –
Cancel plans to merely sleep instead!
Dream, t o s s, T u R n-
dream some more, forget keeping score.
relax your mind-
forget any chore –
DARE to feel bored!
Let God’s healing power do its work
So neurotoxic waste is unable to lurk.
Let emotions come to balance- so no one goes berserk.
You may not need therapy- just some sleep and R.E.M. perks!
Sleep means cleaning up the mind
So calmness can help you carry the DAILY GRIND!
I know, I know – we are all pretty busy
schedules that keep a lively tizzy–
and to ‘seize the day’ – at times we go light on sleep
but what about the health we keep?
And without enough sleep – your brain WILL weep!
Do you need 7 or 8 hours – Is it 6? or maybe 9?
resting needs change over time –
Make plans now
To stop the “plow”
Get some more sleep – somehow….
A nap is powerful, and so is resting light-
But don’t put it off,
enough fight or flight!
good night….and sleep tight.
ARTICLE: Check out this article about a recent study, which revealed even more about the RESTORATIVE and healing role of sleep. The article notes:
“The brain only has limited energy at its disposal and it appears that it must choose between two different functional states — awake and aware or asleep and cleaning up.” “You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can’t really do both at the same time.”
Five Ways to Get Better Sleep (adapted from Watch-well-cast) :
~1. Develop a good bedtime routine (no – it is not just for children)- but as you move through different life seasons, adjust your “winding down” routine so it can work for you. Some people keep about 8 to 10 hand selected books on their night stand – and reading before bed calms and soothes. Others like to journal or write on nights they do not want to read- and then some do deep-breathing exercises while saying end of the day prayers or by reciting a few Bible verses.
Side note: One lady in our small group shared that when she was having trouble sleeping – from stress and other life stuff – she calmly repeated Proverbs 3:24 until she fell fast asleep. A she took in big breathes of air to fill her lungs – she would say, “I am a child of God and peaceful sleep is a gift…. and when I lie down, I will not be afraid -(deep breathe) my sleep will be sweet. I am a child of God and I receive peaceful sleep, thank you, dear Lord, for the gift of sleep. I am not afraid and I am NOT stressed – (deep breathe) and my sleep will be sweet….I am a child of God and peaceful sleep is a gift…” etc.
~2. Try to go to bed around the same time every night – and try to get “some” rhythm into your internal clock.
~3. Don’t use electronics right before bed – and maybe even consider keeping your smart phone turned off – or out in the hall – yeah, really….. because your health is worth it.
~4. If you are having trouble getting to sleep or “staying” asleep – before you turn to medicine, why not explore any food, drink, or activity that may be “messing with” your sleep cycles. Some people cannot have caffeine within TEN hours of sleeping – others cannot have certain foods – or activities within two hours of sleep time.
But before you medicate – take some time to EDUCATE – and find out more about YOUR body and the way it is wired – because we all need sleep – we all get tired – and sometimes little things can be adjusted to keep you rested and inspired!
~5. CREATE a “sleep mood” in your sleeping area – get a new pillow or pillow case, splurge on some high thread-count sheets, or buy a comforter that screams “relax” to you…. Also, ask, “Is my sleeping area dark enough? Quiet enough? Do I need a fan or should I add some white noise? Do I like where I sleep? What can be added or removed to make my sleep area better?
One thing that I have done (in addition to simplifying our bedroom), well I also rotate the art that hangs on the wall to the left of the window. All of the other art in our master bedroom stays the same, because it matches the decor and it is just set – but in this one area – I like to change out the artwork a few times a year – and sometimes at night, when the nightlight is on, this seasonal art piece adds a certain richness to my winding down. It depends on the art piece of course, but because I carefully hand pick which painting is hung in that spot, it is usually a rich piece that I like to look at, pour over and enjoy. Art is amazing! I also like to set out an aroma bar! Well it is actually a jar, called Aromabar, which is filled with healing plant essential oils – and as it permeates through the air it can help calm and heal as one winds down!
So get creative and invest some time in making YOUR sleep area more customized for you – it will pay off in the long run!